The Restoration and Restructuring of the Theatre alla Scala in Milan, Italy
Piazza della Scala
Site management/general construction
Consorzio Cooperative Costruzioni
arch. Elisabetta Fabbri, Milan
Volume new part
95'000 above ground ( total new part 130'000 )
Height scenic tower
-18+38 m ( total 56 m )
The renovation and restructuring of the La Scala opera-house in
affects a triangle of the city centre whose apex is Piazza della Scala, with Via Filodrammatici and Via Verdi forming its two long sides. The build along Via Verdi is denominated by the main body of the opera-house and the back-stage areas, as designed by Piermarini; and along Via Filodrammatici by the opera-house’s 19th-century add-ons. The present configuration is the outcome of continual transformations that have always left the façades intact while altering the original ground plan and layout with courtyard and roof extensions. The proposed architectural intervention has four focuses: conservative restoration, the stage tower, service installations on the roofs along Via Filodrammatici and, at a later date, replacement of the former San Paolo bank building in Via Verdi.
Conservative restoration will be carried on Piermarini’s auditorium and the 19th-century former Casinó Ricordi. Restoring the original structure will mean removing parts that have been added on over the years, reinstating original finishes, and slightly raising the floor in the stalls to improve the view of the stage.
The stage tower the most important intervention designed to meet the requirements of a new technical structure will raise the roof height to 37.80 m above street level and includes excavation the orchestra pit to a depth of 16.00 m below street level. On the floors behind the tower there will be six rehearsal rooms with a roof height the same as that of the tower itself. The vertical extension of the tower will appear as a parallelepiped set back 2.50 m from the façade line along Via Verdi.
The service installations along Via Filodrammatici will replace the present roof add-ons so that the original appearance of the façade is restored. Beyond the street façade, the ground-floor area will be reorganised with new space to the left of the stage, where “la Piccola Scala” once was. The courtyard behind the 19th-century Casinó Ricordi will be cleared out and made empty again, and the jumble of roof add-ons built over the past few decades will be demolished and replicated by a single elliptical volume containing all the many services the opera-house needs (dressing-rooms, changing-rooms, canteen, etc.). This is a new volume with its own visual autonomy, placed to one side of the stage tower.